Our reunion as a community of faith and friendship during the High Holy Days is an occasion to anticipate with pleasure. Whether you are actively and intimately involved with the TJC or less active but supportive, our gathering to affirm Jewish values and community is a sacred meeting. I hope our lay leaders, Cindy Grossman and I, together with the personal commitment of each of you, can help make this season one of moral renewal and spiritual energy.
One of the challenges of Jewish liturgy and prayer is to keep fresh what is ancient or familiar. We meet that challenge by bringing our life experience, our sorrow and joy, to understand the text in new ways. In order to enhance the effort always to view the liturgy in a new light, the TJC Board has purchased copies of the experimental edition of Mishkan Hanefesh (Reform- CCAR Press). We will use this book for the evening services on Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. In the morning services, we will continue to pray from On Wings of Awe. The Yom Kippur afternoon service will be the liturgy I created and that we have been using for several years. It is my hope that the variety of expression we will share will open intellectual, emotional and spiritual gates for you. I hope, as Rabbi Abraham Kook said, “to make the old new, and to make what is new holy.”
Our society and our world of late feel more broken and in need of repair than in previous years. The Holy Days are meant to be a season of healing. I hope our services will be a first aid to pessimism, despair, disappointment and cynicism. It is my intention to address issues and feelings which confront us with regularity through a sermon theme entitled, “A Season for Healing.” Under this rubric, these will be my four sermon messages:
- Erev Rosh Hashanah “Healing Dr. B. from His Common Cold.” This talk will address a widespread sense of alienation from prayer and Judaism which Dr. B expressed in an op-ed in the Link.
- Rosh Hashanah Morning “”Healing the Plague of Me-ism.”
- Two parables from the Torah will help us consider and distinguish between Jewish values and American mores regarding the relationship between the individual and the community.
- Erev Yom Kippur "Healing Our Israel Myopia”
This discussion will focus on viewing Israel with balanced evaluation, caring and fair criticism and loving connection.
- Yom Kippur Morning “Healing Our Inner Jonah”
Jonah, the star of the Yom Kippur afternoon Haftarah, learned some astounding things about himself and about God. We will examine what he discovered, and think about how it applies to our own healing.
It is my intention that when the final Tekiah Gedolah is sounded, that our prayer and study, our singing and our oneness will bring you to strength and renewed purpose as we enter 5778.
Finally, I wish to share a personal word with you. I began my tenure with the TJC in December of 2012. Over nearly five years, it has been my privilege to lead you in prayer and study each month and during the Holy Days. I have been touched by the TJC leadership’s dedication, hard work and vision. Your participation has been gratifying to me as well. I have decided, however, that it is the appropriate time for me to retire from my work with the TJC. My decision is due in no small part to doing more travel as well as more teaching in Albuquerque. My final Shabbat at the TJC will be on Simchat Torah, Friday, October 13th, and on Shabbat morning, October 14th for Torah study. I hope you will be able to participate in a Shabbat which celebrates Torah, and which is a meaningful time to say farewell to one another.
Susan joins me in wishing you a new year of health, fulfillment and peace.
L’shanah tovah tikateivu.
Rabbi Paul J. Citrin
Taos Jewish Center